Monday, March 14, 2011

Heritage: Wynton Marsalis

Wynton Marsalis: In the Court of King Oliver


I have the perfect album for this week’s theme. Standard Time Vol. 3 The Resolution of Romance is Wynton Marsalis’ tribute to his musical heritage. The album’s 21 songs form a sort of travelogue through the generations of jazz that inspired Wynton Marsalis. Naturally, the journey begins in New Orleans, Marsalis’ home town. In the Court of King Oliver is a Wynton Marsalis original, but it pays tribute to the first great New Orleans trumpeter, King Oliver.

Now, you may have noticed that this week is not about musical heritage but about family. Wynton Marsalis is the best known of six brothers, but three others are also jazz musicians. Branford is the saxophonist in the family, and the youngest brother Jason plays drums and vibraphone, and is just now starting to make a name for himself. Another brother, Delfeayo, has become a well known jazz trombonist, but he served as producer of this album. They all get it from their father. Ellis Marsalis made his first recording before the first of his sons was even born, in 1956. From there, Ellis Marsalis forged a dual career as musician and jazz educator. Ellis Marsalis is the piano player heard here, and father and son are both pictured above on the album cover.

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